Sherlock Holmes comes to the 21st century in the new BBC series Sherlock. Consulted reluctantly by the police, Holmes is brilliant, sarcastic and socially awkward. Watson, a military doctor that has just returned from Afghanistan after being wounded, is not the bumbling fool so often portrayed in film but is an equal partner in the detective work and also serves as a moral compass for Holmes.
The familiar framework remains, just tweaked in places for the modern setting. Thus, the deerstalker becomes a scarf, Watson keeps a blog rather than a journal, London atmosphere comes from a skyline that includes the Millenium Wheel and the Gherkin building rather than foggy, cobblestone streets and Holmes finds his informants among the homeless rather than street children. What doesn’t change, however, is the brilliant Holmes – socially misfit, actively disliked by many, hyper intelligent.
As you would expect from the BBC, the production values are excellent. Filming on location in London lends authentic atmosphere; the writing is sharp and witty with many homages to the Arthur Conan Doyle originals; and the acting is outstanding. The only negative? There are only three episodes. However, the series proved to be so popular in England that they are currently filming three more episodes – watch for them on PBS in the fall.
Whether you’re new to Sherlock Holmes, or longtime fan you’re sure to enjoy this fun new series.
If you’re a fan of television it’s probably happened to you – and probably more than once. You start watching a new show, you really enjoy it and start to follow it and then – BAM! – it gets canceled, usually before an important story line is finished. A lot of these shows are critical darlings, but never found a large audience, or they’re the victim of being moved to different nights and times too often. The Hollywood writer’s strike two years ago was devastating for several shows. While we can’t fire up production again on some of these beloved shows, thanks to DVDs the library can give you a chance to go back and re-live many shows, even those with too short of a run to go to syndication. Here’s just a sampling of what we have available:
Veronica Mars (victim of network tinkering, the first season is outstanding, 2nd and 3rd seasons go progressively downhill)
Firefly (yanked by FOX despite rabid fan following; those fans helped push the making of the feature film, Serenity)
Better Off Ted (funnier than The Office, this corporate snark-fest was big on laughs, low on viewers partly because it’s schedule changed constantly)
Eli Stone (creative thinking outside the box and the writer’s strike spelled doom for this fun drama)
Pushing Daisies (nothing else quite like it on tv – funny, romantic, silly, profound, and colorful with pies! – the writer’s strike prevented it from picking up the audience it deserved)
What about you? Any short-lived tv series you’d love to see again?
submitted by Georgann
I have thoroughly enjoyed these mild-mannered detective stories from the No. 1 Ladies Detective series, set in the country of Botswana, Africa. The characters are engaging, coming from a world-view different from my own, and a society with a somewhat different set of mores. Still, it is easy to identify with them and a delight to read about their adventures. The characters struggle with a rapidly changing Africa, and with changes that are good and not-so-good. Their cases are interesting, often solved with intuition and plenty of footwork. In Morality for Beautiful Girls, detective Precious Ramotswe investigates an alleged poisoning, and checks the moral character of the four finalists of the Miss Beauty and Integrity Contest.
For me, the best part of the books is the philosophizing, of which there is plenty, for a detective must understand human nature. How often it makes me smile or even laugh out loud. With 10 books in the series, I expect to be entertained for some time!
Lounging in the back yard with your pup? Pick up Play Dead by David Rosenfelt to while away the afternoon. Lawyer Andy Carpenter is a smart aleck, with the redeeming quality of his love for dogs (he used a windfall to found the Tara Foundation – named for his golden retriever).
A trend in mysteries is the deployment of pets as an integral part of the plot. There’s long been a tradition of cat mysteries (Lilian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown) and now man’s best friend is catching up. Try The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Carol Lea Benjamin or one of Susan Conant’s many (such as New Leash on Death ). After reading about their crime-solving skills, you may look at your dog with new respect.